The Profile of a Fifth Grader Today As compared to a study by Arnold Gesell By Jamie Gammel
What’s happening to America’s youth? Families? Is anything happening?
1880-1961 Completed Ph.D in psychology at Clark U. Professor of Psychology at Los Angeles Normal School Married Beatrice Chandler Medical degree at Yale Founded clinic at Yale Established Gesell Institute of Child Development in New Haven, CT in 1950 First school psychologist in the US Provided a standard procedure for recognizing typical and a typical child behavior patterns.
Maturation Maturation: the appearance of functions, abilities, and skills without special training or practice. –Mediated by genes –Not connected with specific physiological processes –Intrinsic regulatory mechanism Acculturation: environmental factors that impact the child –But acculturation can never transcend maturation
Development Concepts Reciprocal interweaving: –The process by which two tendencies balance out to reach an effective organization. Functional asymmetry: –The asymmetry that results from the reciprocal interweaving. Self-regulation: –Due to intrinsic developmental mechanisms, a child can regulate its own development. Individuality: –Development is a continuous process, but there are fluctuations in acquisition of specific functions.
Gesell’s Research In 1956, Arnold Gesell and collegues published the results of a seven year long study tracing the growth of 10 through 16 year olds. This was a continuation of previous books: Infant and Child in the Culture of Today (1943) The Child from Five to Ten (1946) The years 10-16 represent a significant transition to maturity.
Purpose Gesell was not trying to find the “normal” or “average” child. He wanted to define the basic sequences and directions of development as shown through the behavior of actual children. I wanted to see how varied groups of children would compare to Gesell’s findings.
Maturity Profiles: –portrayals of the maturity characteristics of 7 yearly zones Maturity Traits: –behavior patterns and symptoms in 9 major areas Maturity Trends: –sequences and gradients of growth for the sector of years from 10-16
Gesell’s Study 60-88 observed at each age New Haven, CT Generally favorable socio- economic status High average to superior level of school population Observations made at Child Development Clinic or Gesell Institute Children showed interest Parents also interviewed Performed a developmental test, and then an interview. My Study 12 fifth graders Irving, TX Varied socio-economic status Varied intelligence range Observations made at school or after school program Children showed interest Parents not interviewed Only interviewed the children
Maturity Traits Total Action System Self-Care and Routines Emotions The Growing Self Interpersonal Relationships Activities and Interests School Life Ethical Sense Philosophic Outlook Emotions The Growing Self Interpersonal Relationships Activities and Interests Philosophic Outlook
Results I made a list of the qualities in each category from Gesell. Then, I figured out the “typical” boy and “typical” girl by assigning a number for each category. –Three = strongly display the trait –Two = somewhat display the trait –One = slightly display the trait –Zero = not exhibit the trait I then used this same scoring system on the children I interviewed.
Problems in My Evaluations Activities and Interests –They have changed incredibly. –I did not ask the right questions to compare the answers. Anger –The results did not compare with Gesell’s. Philosophic Outlook –Church vs. Sunday school –Holy Family Wishes –Who wants to live on a farm?
Interesting Discoveries Self-evaluation –Almost everyone focused on the positive Reasons to go to church Everyone wanted to go to college Some were not sure whether they wanted to marry, but definitely wanted kids. Anger Was not a flaw Response Most got along with their parents. Not much interest in the opposite sex.
Eleven The beginning of adolescence Self-asserted, curious, socialable Comfortable Inquisitive about adults Loves to argue Quarrel with siblings, rebel against parents Unaware that he is difficult Changing moods
Twelve Less turbulent More reasonable, more companionable, more sociable Trying to grow up More influenced by peer group Becomes aware of appearance Gets along with parents better
Limitations Limited amount of children Limited amount of time They did not know me well and may have been nervous or not completely honest. Only talked with the children, not their parents. I had problems with the tape player.
If I did it again… In some cases, I should have asked different questions. More subjects More in depth questions